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GAFIRS is a member of the Solent Sea Rescue Organisation (SSRO) and affiliated to the British Cane Union Lifeguards and the Royal Lifesaving society.

All GAFIRS boat crew and members are volunteers and give freely of their time to aid the service. Crew members are even required, at present, to purchase their own ‘dry suits’!

GAFIRS is unique in that not only does it use its training skills to teach the lifeboat crews but, as a fully approved RYA Training Centre, undertakes training of local yachtsmen and sailing clubs.

The service operates two frontline boats in addition to a canoe section and two vehicles. Other equipment, training and rescue facilities include medical rescue.


The Equipment

The service operates three frontline boats and a training craft in addition to a canoe section and two vehicles. Other equipment, Ttaining and rescue facilities include dive rescue, medical rescue and fire fighting.

Gosport Rescue 1

G1 is a fully self righting 7.4m Avon rigid hulled inflatable boat. It is powered by a 300hp Iveco diesel turbo engine driving a Castoldi water jet. The craft's speed is over 35 knots and can reach any part of the patrol area within 10 minutes of launch. Equipment carried includes sophisticated navigation equipment including radar, chart plotting, GPS (including AIS to allow tracking from the station) and an echo sounder, Adavanced first aid equipment, search and flood lighting, flares, two fixed VHF radios DSC Compatible and one VHF handportable.

Gosport Rescue 2

G2 is currently being replaced, the orginal craft a 4 mtr Avon Searider 'Harry Nichols' has been donated to a local Sea Cadet Unit.

Gosport Rescue 3

G3 is a 4.5 mtr Avon WB450  and has been designed by the service as an Patrol craft and secondary lifeboat. She is powered by a single 60hp outboard Engine. A specially designed trailer enables her to be taken to inland incidents, She, like G1 is equipped for rescue work including, flares (including para illuminates), tow lines, GPS (including AIS to allow tracking from the station) One VHF radio DSC Compatible, first aid equipment and damage control equipment.

Gosport Rescue 4

There are currently no plans to have another small rib - but we may look at operating one in the future

Gosport Rescue 5 / 6 / 7

These are three of our smallest boats, which are carried in our response trailer, these are primarily used for inland incidents on lakes, rivers etc where we cannot take a conventional craft, one is also designed to be used for ice rescue.


The service uses canoes for routine patrols and rescue work along the coastline of our area and additonally in support of the dive/mud rescue teams. The canoes are normally paddled by our cadet section.
The canoes used are the 'Shark' rescue canoe, designed by the service to withstand the rigours of life as a rescue craft.


The service operates two vehicles:

  • A long wheel base landrover, set out as a Multipurpose Rescue Unit, it carries first aid, oxygen, Paramedic equipment and rescue stretchers. Additionally we carry light rescue tools and scene lighting equipment for protracted incidents. The landrover was converted by MMB.
  • The four wheel drive Merecedes MB-Trac1000 tractor is used for boat recovery and heavy rescue work. It was converted in house by our members to suit our varied needs.

Each unit has been specifically designed for the service's purposes.

The Cadets

The organisation has a Cadet Section for youths between the ages of 14 and 18. The aim of the section is to teach the youngsters lifesaving skills both in canoes (shown in the picture above) and on the beach, as well as traditional lifeguard skills. The cadets progress through the service and it is hoped that some will progress to training as boat crew at the age of 18yrs, many of the cadets have gone on to complete their gold Duke of Edinburgh awards.

Over the last few years several of the past cadets have gone onto work in the Police, Ambulance, Fire and Coastguard Services, continuing their desire to help those in need.

The cadets use the 'SHARK' rescue canoe, which was originally designed by one of our members and is still being built to an updated specification. The cadets take part in competitions throughout the year in both canoes and pool lifeguarding. They also provide safety cover to cross Solent swims, the International Festival of the Sea and many other local events.
The cadets also take part in training exercises with the rescue boats, often for mud rescue, and provide safety support when the rescue divers train in the local area.

‘GAFIRS is totally independent, no funding is received from the RNLI’

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